Black Mariah Here…
Let me start off this review by saying comedy movies have gone straight downhill in the past 10 years. I don’t know what demographic survey told movie studios that we wanted our comedies with a side of moral lesson, but this girl, for one, HATES my comedies anywhere near a moral lesson (I’m looking at you ‘Bridesmaids‘). I truly miss the golden era of Adam Sandler films and comedy recordings. Sometimes settling into a good dick and fart joke film is just what you need. Don’t think about the humor, it’s just funny!
What a relief “Neighbors” was to my plight of crappy comedies with moral lessons or laden with “family humor” that seems to alienate anyone who has crossed the social norm of being over the age of 30 without children. Universal got it right with ‘Neighbors‘ and writers Andrew Cohen and Brendan O’Brien (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Talladega Nights) are respsonsible. Maybe it was the great subject matter and their writing skills that made me laugh that hard. One this is for sure though, I definitely enjoyed this film. ‘Neighbors‘ is about a 30-something couple, who have a new baby and have purchased their first home. The kicker is that their next door neighbor is an actual fraternity house.
On a second layer of character development of our happy suburban couple, we learn they are struggling with the idea of getting old, growing up, being spontaneous, and remaining relevant even among their own circle of friends (“We’re still cool, right?”) , while still proving that they are certainly not perfect parents. This is a universal coming of age for adults, focusing on the transition college students must face at the cusp of graduation, the awkward transition to a career in the real world, and the loss of the carefree existence when we embrace the responsibilities of being independent adults. While all of this sounds boring and too real, “Neighbors” got back to the roots of what really is funny, real life.
“Neighbors” was already poised to do well with actor Seth Rogen heading up the cast. Personally, I have never seen Rogen in a regrettable role. While Seth can hold his own comedically, this movie is a who’s who of stellar comedians. Correction, this film has a stellar cast of toilet humor comedians, which happen to be my favorite kind of comedian. “Neighbors“ co-stars Ike Barinholtz (MadTV, The Mindy Project, Drunk History), Carla Gallo (Bones), Dave Franco (Superbad, Scrubs), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad, Kick Ass), and an army of folks who are not known for comedic roles, but certainly made incredible breakout comedic performances in this movie.
Speaking of a who’s who of comedians, be sure to look for the flashback montage with cameos from Andy Samberg, Blake Anderson , the cast of Workaholics, and Jake Johnson. Zac Efron (High School Musical, The Lucky One) plays up his pretty boy image but crosses into new acting territory with his role as Teddy, the Fraternity president. As a hell raising, hard partying Senior in college, Teddy seems to have not taken his higher education as seriously as he has taken partying with his fraternity brothers. In a perfect opposition, his Vice President, Pete, has made such an effort in school, that his studies have paid off, and given him the opportunity to seek work and look forward to his life after college. This is a great secondary story line, and may be he subtle “moral lesson” that the writer’s slid into the plot, but is hardly noticeable against all of the drug and alcohol consumption and of course, the irresponsible parenting.
Neighbors is non-stop laughter filled with fresh situation comedy, cerebral humor, physical comedy, and pop culture references that may actually date this film in the future, setting the film up for even nostalgic success. The film is positioned with subject matter relevant to a particular demographic, but will have staying power for is spot on lens on 20-30 something life. This is for sure not a film you should see with your children, but will definitely be a movie that your children will relate to. If you want to laugh your ass off, head to the theater to see ‘Neighbors’.
4.5 out 5 Stars
– Black Mariah